Friday, September 26, 2008

Random Thoughts

  • True romance is having a man cook for you for over 20 years. That, people, is love. He makes a kick ass chili. Oh my...
  • It's just a little bizarre when you're watching TV and a raccoon is chittering in the tree just outside the window. It sounds like he's commenting on the show. Actually it's sort of cute.
  • We've been watching Sex and the City on DVD and I must say that I think Carrie Bradshaw is probably the most shallow, self-absorbed character I've ever seen on TV. Maybe the raccoon thinks so too.
  • This said it's a highly entertaining show. I just keep waiting for them to fall off their shoes though.
  • And another thing, how can the woman live in a studio apartment in Manhattan, and yet have a closet the size of a whole other apartment. This makes no sense to me.
  • Despite the fact that fall means winter is on our heels, some fall days are the most beautiful days of the year. I love how the light changes in the fall and becomes so crisp and bright.
  • Though I can' t wait for the day when "that monthly time" (aka the curse - for very good reason) becomes a thing of the past, getting there is hell. I do not deal well with insomnia, especially since I've always been a "head hits the pillow, she's out" type of person.
  • As you can see, I am not one who uses "that time" to celebrate my womanhood. That is such bullshit.
  • Mr. Jazz's evil margarita would be good about now.
  • I have a week's vacation next week, that first October week at the cottage. YAY
  • Which will most probably be spent shopping for a stove. A 21st century stove.
  • And figuring out the Mac. I am beginning to make peace with the Mac.
  • Survivor is on again! Yay. Survivor is my "reality" show fix. That and Amazing Race. Probably because the Probst and the Keoghan are pretty damn hot
  • That's it, my brain is empty, see you in a week

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My WTF moment this morning.

The government is going to build a new French super hospital in Montreal - that is a good thing, believe me, it's way overdue.

At first they were going to build it in a whole new location in Outremont.

Then, it seemed the best way to go was to renovate St. Luc Hospital.

This morning we find out that has changed. They're simply going to demolish St. Luc and rebuild. Now that in itself is actually a good idea I suppose. Way less constraints than retrofitting.


Hospitals are a nightmare in Montreal as it is. It's actually normal to wait 10-12 hours in the emergency room. What is going to happen now with, I dunno 600 less beds for several years?*

Thank god they're not tearing down an English hospital for the new English super hospital - yes, we're getting two. An English hospital and a French one. Don't ask.

All I can say, is you'd better not get sick in Montreal until 2013 (or whenever they actually do finish the new hospital - we all know what happens to target dates)

*This morning's political commentator was over the moon, "So great", he said, "Finally!" When asked what they would do with the patients? "Oh, they'll park them somewhere." And that's a direct quote.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

"D'you think there's a blog post....

... in this?" I asked him as he put the frying pan onto the BBQ.

"Um, yeah, pretty much", he answered.

We were up at the cottage Thursday evening. It was cold outside. I was preheating the oven so I could pop in the garlic bread.

A few minutes later I went into the kitchen to do the garlic bread popping thing. There was a bright light in the oven.

That light, it was Close Encounters bright.

"What the (insert your favourite swear word here, preferably the one beginning with F for total veracity)", I wondered. OK, I screeched.

Mr. Jazz arrived, intrigued, no doubt, by my hollering and carrying on. It was a bit too much carrying on for garlic bread. Even for me.

Then I opened the oven. The heating element was burning. No, not just burning.

On. Fire. On bright-white-soldering-iron-flame-with-sparks-flying-left-right-and-centre fire.

What's a girl to do? Turn off the oven obviously, right? Well, nope, not quite, 'cause it just kept on burning, the flame slowly - well actually not so slowly - advancing along the element. It had a hellish life of its own. When the oven is off, so should be the fire, dammit!

Rather than just wait and see what would happen, which maybe would not have been the best of ideas all in all (though it was fascinating to watch, actually), we moved the stove and unplugged it. Yeah, I know it would have been quicker to just unscrew the fuses, but by that time, impressed as I was by the flames I wasn't quite thinking straight. I got this thing about electrical fires burning inside the oven. Go figure.

So now we have the perfect cottage stove. Only 3 out of 4 burners work and now the oven is shot.

The next morning we tried to unscrew the element and it crumbled in our hands... That is just weird. Seriously. A heating element crumbling in your hands is beyond bizarre. But I digress.

Still and all, we had to finish cooking dinner. Hard to sautée pasta (yes, you read right, and it's delicious, add lots of cheese) without a working stove - we hadn't cottoned onto the idea of plugging it back in and unscewing the fuse for the oven yet. That only came up the next morning.

Note to all readers: A BBQ doesn't heat a frying pan enough to sautée pasta.

Nope, it doesn't. And to think we had just bought a new gas BBQ this summer. And figured, meh, no need for a side burner, when will we really use it? Cheapness isn't great when you'll be facing a stove fire within a few weeks.

Because you'll definitely need that stupid damn burner then.

The morasl of this story: You need the side burner and sautéed pasta beats the hell out of microwaved pasta.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My last (hopefully) political post

In answer to Furiousball's comment of yesterday: "Holy crap, you guys have 4 parties?", I thought I'd give y'all a crash course on Canadian political parties. I knew there were actually more than four, but who knew there were this many. It's insane, and more than a little ridiculous*:

Registered Political Parties in Alphabetical Order :
(of these, the Conservatives, Liberals, Bloc and NDP and, I believe the Green Party are actually represented in the house of Commons)

  • Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada - Who knew? They're platform is animal rights and the environment
  • Bloc Québécois - This party is only present in Quebec. Their "mandate" is to promote Quebec sovereignty at a federal level. Yeah, it doesn't make sense to me either. I've already voted for them though because at least they can't do any real damage.
  • Canadian Action Party - ??
  • Christian Heritage Party of Canada - As the name says, they want Canada governed according to the bible. I guess I'd be stoned to death.
  • Communist Party of Canada - Self explanatory
  • Conservative Party of Canada - They are the result of a merge of the Alliance Party (which was previously the Reform party) and the Progressive Conservatives (yeah, I know, that name makes no logical sense whatsoever). They're our Republicans.
  • First Peoples National Party of Canada - Speaks for itself.
  • Green Party of Canada - Self explanatory. They're gaining in popularity and the head of the Party, Elizabeth May will be allowed to participate in the debate.
  • Liberal Party of Canada - Our Democrats. Pretty much to the centre
  • Libertarian Party of Canada - Never heard of them
  • Marijuana Party - Only in Canada, eh? They want the legalization of pot.
  • Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada - Again, pretty self explanatory
  • - The successor to the Rhinoceros Party of Canada, they're our joke party. Their main election promise - since forever - is to break any election promises they make.
  • NDP (National Democratic Party) - They're our lefties, people are saying they might actually make up the official opposition this time though I doubt it.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador First Party - New to me
  • Progressive Canadian Party - Ditto
  • Western Block Party - Like the Bloc Québecois, they promote independence... of Western Canada

These parties are eligible to be registered:

  • People's Political Power Party of Canada
  • Work Less party

One deregistered party:

  • Natural Law Party of Canada - I believe they have something to do with transcendental meditation... bizarre, I know.

And these three have lost their ability to be registered
(you need a certain amount of money and/or people behind you to register a party)

  • National Alternative Party of Canada
  • The Ontario Party of Canada
  • Absolutely Absurd Party

So, there, in a nutshell is the political picture in Canada. And lest we forget, you also have those who are standing for election as independents. Keep in mind that most of these parties also have representation at the provincial level. It's a zoo it is. I just had no idea just how much of a zoo it actually was!

*Info taken from the Elections Canada website. This Wikipedia entry is quite detailed and informative

As an aside: Can anyone tell my why I Blogger isn't doing my hyperlinks anymore and I have to do the href stuff myself now? Am I the only one with this problem?? Seriously, what is going on?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

It's polling season!!!

No sooner was the election called than the polls began. Well actually, the polls began way before election season started, but that's par for the course.

Every morning you wake to polls. Harper has x%, Dion y%, the Bloc another few percentage points and on and on, with changes in the numbers occurring depending on the latest speech by one or another of the clowns.

Ban the polls damn it! They're annoying and they mean nothing. Seriously, are you gonna vote for party X just because they're ahead in the polls? OK, right that's a stupid stupid question. I'm sure lots of people do just that. Scary thought.

As if the regular polls weren't enough, you also have the "fantasy" polls.

Like this one*:

If the heads of the four main parties (Conservatives, Liberals, Bloc and NDP) were stand up for election in the same riding, who would you vote for?

This has got to be the most inane, stupid, senseless, useless, ridiculous (ok, I'll stop with the adjectives now, you get the picture) poll ever, 'cause know what people? That situation will never ever happen will it? So why poll people on it? What is the point?

The things the media comes up with to fabricate news! The mind boggles - then steps back and boggles again.

Here's a poll I'd like to see: What percentage of Canadians are sick of polls? And what percentage of Canadians actually give a damn what the polls say?

* I swear this is for real! I was on my way to the cottage when the results of this poll came on the radio. I was floored, flummoxed and whatever other word you might come up with.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hey look! Canada made it into Slate!

What's the Matter With Canada?
How the world's nicest country turned mean.
Posted Friday, Sept. 12, 2008, at 11:17 AM ET
By Christopher Flavelle

Last Sunday, news came that Canada—sensible, quiet, some would even say boring Canada—will hold an election on Oct. 14, its third in four years. Those outside the country may wonder what the problem is; in Canada, after all, health care is free, the dollar is strong, same-sex marriage is legal, and the government had the good sense to stay out of Iraq. You might think of Canada as the un-America, where the only debate ought to be whether to spend the country's growing oil wealth on faster snowmobiles, bigger hockey rinks, or Anne Murray box sets.

But beneath the calm exterior, Canada's political system is in turmoil. Since 2004, a succession of unstable minority governments has led to a constant campaign frenzy, brutalizing Canada's once-broad political consensus and producing a series of policies at odds with the country's socially liberal, fiscally conservative identity. Canada is quietly becoming a political basket case, and this latest election may make things even worse.

Just scan the headlines. In June, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development warned that Canada—for years the only G8 country to post regular budget surpluses—was likely to fall into deficit this year, thanks to a reckless cut to the national sales tax. In February, the government proposed denying funding to films and TV shows whose content it deemed "not in the public interest," sparking cries of censorship from a sector that has historically received public support. In 2007, a member of the governing Conservative Party proposed a bill that would reopen the debate over abortion, a topic that governments both liberal and conservative have avoided for decades.

The country is projecting its uncharacteristic behavior abroad as well. After decades of encouraging countries to increase their foreign-aid spending, Canada cut its own, from 0.34 percent of GDP in 2005 to just 0.2 percent last year. Long a beacon of human rights, Ottawa announced last fall that it would stop advocating on behalf of Canadians sentenced to death in other countries. And Canada is now the only Western country that still has one of its citizens held in Guantanamo, but Ottawa has refused to press for his release.

But nowhere is the rift between the old and new Canada more apparent than with regards to the environment. Canada was an early and enthusiastic supporter of the fight against climate change, and as recently as 2005 it was the Canadian environment minister who helped broker an agreement to extend the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012. Then last December, at a U.N. conference in Bali to negotiate a successor to Kyoto, Canada executed a neat 180-degree turn, trying to block an agreement that set a target for future cuts to greenhouse-gas emissions. Of the 190 countries at the conference, only Russia supported Canada's position.

Left-leaning Canadians blame the country's predicament on the current Conservative government, which was first elected two years ago. They're right, to a point. The Conservative Party, formed five years ago in a merger of the country's two right-wing parties, is Canada's first experience with an anti-government, socially conservative party in the mold of Reagan-Bush Republicans. Its leader, Stephen Harper, who is now the prime minister, once called Canada "a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term."

But the Conservative Party wouldn't be in power, let alone willing to risk such divisive policies, were it not for the collapse of the country's most formidable political institution, the Liberal Party of Canada. The Liberals have been Canada's left-wing standard-bearers since the country's independence in 1867. And just as Canada's right-wing parties were coming together, the Liberal Party was coming apart.

In early 2004, Canada's auditor-general found that under the Liberal government, public funds intended to promote the federal government in the province of Quebec had been diverted toward advertising companies connected to the Liberal Party in the form of inflated payments. In response, the prime minister called a public inquiry, which only prolonged the controversy.

In the 2004 election, the Liberal government was reduced from a majority to a minority. Nineteen months later, it lost power entirely, and the party's leader resigned. The Liberals then embarked on a long, fractious leadership campaign—leaving the party exhausted and broke, and tempting the governing Conservatives to introduce ever more draconian policies with little fear of the consequences.

As the Liberals work on rebuilding, Canada's other left-wing party, the New Democratic Party, has grown at their expense; the Green Party, long a fringe movement in Canada, gained its first member of parliament when an independent MP joined the Greens; and the Bloc Québécois, which shares many Liberal positions but advocates for Quebec's independence, remains a force in that province. The Conservatives may not represent the views of most Canadians, but with four parties fighting for the left-wing vote, the Conservatives might win simply by sliding up the middle.

Italians and Israelis may have learned how to function under minority governments, but Canadians are still working on it. If the current election ends in a third consecutive minority government, the polarization of Canadian politics will continue, and with it the brutal, zero-sum politicking that has left the country in convulsions.

If the last week is any indication, that polarization is only getting worse. On Sunday morning, Prime Minister Harper began the race by predicting "a very nasty kind of personal-attack campaign." Two days later, his party briefly released an ad that showed a bird defecating on the leader of the Liberal Party. So much for Canadians being nice.

This is the link

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Chruch, The Medal, The Abortionist - A Rant

Monseigneur Turcotte of the Catholic Church was to receive the Order of Canada, the highest civilian honour you can get in Canada.

According to the website it “recognizes a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. The Order recognizes people in all sectors of Canadian society.”

David Suzuki has it, as does Celine Dion, for whatever reason, I'm still wondering about her outstanding service to the nation; I can't quite get my head around that one.

Conrad Black has it, I'm sure it's a big consolation as he sits in his prison cell.

Many many "unsung heros" are also recipients of the Order. You know, real people who make a difference. They still exist apparently.

Henry Morgentaler is among the latest recipients. Because of Morgentaler’s battle, Canadian women have the right to choose what to do with their own bodies. I happen to really admire the man for going to bat (and prison) for women.

As an anti-abortion (I refuse to call them pro-life) Catholic, Turcotte has decided he cannot accept his medal. It's a moral decision. Receiving it at the same time as (now use your best deep and ominous voice here people) an abortionist, is anathema to the guy.

I guess Morgantaler is the devil. A Jewish devil, at that. Oh my.

I'm sure he'll accept it next time he's nominated, if everyone at the ceremony meets with his approval.

What I find totally ironic is that Turcotte has no problem with a couple of priests who recently admitted to molesting children and didn't go to jail. One of them is in a monastery somewhere, the other was given a scholarship and went to Rome to study some religious something or other.

The hypocrisy of it floors me. But, as the good Monsignor says, they are punished in their own way... Um, yeah, sure. Scholarships are a helluva punishment. Every child molester should get a scholarship to go study in Europe. That way our kids would be safe at any rate.

And then they wonder why people are leaving the church in droves. Well duh.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


No pithy comments today. No rants, no snarkiness.

I've been to two funerals in the past 10 days and I have to admit, I'm really pretty sick of it.

Not tragic "children killed in an accident" funerals. Just your regular, run of the mill the "Big C" funerals of friends' parents. A couple of months ago it was a family friend.

And it's freaking me right the fuck out.

It's bizarre when the parents begin to go. Over 20 years ago my father died, but that was not really in the order of things.

But now it's happening more and more, and I'll be going to more and more funerals as time passes. Soon it'll be my generation.

I've found myself preoccupied by death these days, I can't get it out of my mind.

And I'm not liking this one bit.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

And so it goes...

When those on top look down,
all they see is shit

When those on the bottom look up
All they see is assholes

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Once upon a time....

.... in a land far far away there lived a little frog named Jazz. She lived in a little apartment with a little balcony in the trees with her little frog prince, Mr. Jazz.

The Js had been living happily every after for quite a while in utterly medieval conditions (no computer, no dishwasher, no microwave). When one is a frog, it's always good to not have too many possibilities for original cooking methods. You wouldn't want to end up with your legs nuked in garlic butter. It makes frantic hopping ever so much more difficult.

One summer day, out of the blue, Jazz's big brother, BB (now isn't that original) who for some odd reason is not himself a froggy, offered her his "old" laptop. "Old" meaning not the latest thing on the market and probably a year old and thus, as far as the B-ster is concerned hopelessly outdated. The Js jumped at the idea. Hey! A computer! An almost medievalcomputer by BB standards. Thus extremely reassuring by Jazzer standards. That could be plugged into the net. And shit. Whoa!

They were suitably impressed, medieval little froggies they were, and ready to jump into modern times.

Four months later they picked up the computer. Not that BB lived that far, maybe 1/2 hour away, but, well... obviously they weren't all that quick on the uptake. And though it was an absolute priority (they had been thinking of buying one for over three years by then), and they wanted it ever so much, somehow the whole modern times thing suddenly wasn't that much of a priority. The computer finally did enter the Jazz abode and just somehow made it seem a little bit shinier and more polished (and it was indeeed in desperate need of shine and polish).

Jazz waited a while to see if the house would miraculously become as shiny and clean and neat as a pin (all the time wondering where the hell that expression came from) but 21st century technology be damned, the laptop didn't have that particular effect. Nor did it make tea. Something of a letdown actually. You'd at least expect tea.

And so the computer made it's little place in the Jazz home. And a whole 10 months later a modem was purchased. That cute little blue box with the flashing lights sat on the table for a while, while the Js hopped around it, looking at it this way and that, wondering if maybe it wouldn't be better all in all to use it as an ever so original piece of art, in some sort of non-medieval assemblage.

Somehow that didn't come together.

Only one choice was left to them: Plug the pretty blue box into the laptop with that cute apple on it (Jazz had tried to eat the apple at one point during a snack attack, but the results were, to say the least inconclusive) and take those first tentative steps into the 20th century.

On a Mac. When Jazz has never used anything other than PC. Her little froggy (foggy?) mind is having problems wrapping iteslf around the whole Mac concept, plus she periodically tries to eat that stupid apple. Brain farts abound. The 20th century is a tough place to be for the Jazzer.

The Js are nevertheless still far from the 21st century - give 'em a break, from medieval times to the 20th in one fell swoop is already quite a jump! And they're still not thinking about a microwave since the whole garlic butter thing is a bit horrific to contemplate, but yes, they have moved into the 20th century. Bow down before them, oh ye of little faith! Bow down all you who said it would never happen! Bow down and give praise where praise is due!

The 21st century hovers however, and like a siren, sweetly beckons with a wireless setup that might soon see the light of day.

If Mr. Jazz can find a router that actually will clean the house and make Jazz's tea.

And they will live happily ever after for some time more.

The end.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Well Hell

Dubbya said last night that "McCain is the man we need!"

Good thing I'm not American or I'd have to change my vote.

'Cause if Dubbya said it, it's gotta be true, eh?